Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Sharing in Christ’s mission of reconciliation, we work as agents of reconciliation and healing with those in our community and our Church who have been impacted by violence and conflict. Our ministries reach out to the victim, the wrongdoer, and the community to create a safe space where healing can begin and where people can find the support and encouragement needed to begin reconciliation. We strive to be a resource to the community to find restorative ways to heal and rebuild after violence and conflict.
Kids are a constant here at PBMR. You’ll find them rummaging through the refrigerator trying to find something to eat, using the meager weight room trying to build muscles, working out in the garden or simply sweeping floors or moping halls.
They find the “Center” a safe place in which they feel as though they belong, a place where no one judges them. They seek help in trying to find a job or do better in school. Some work part time merely to feed and clothe themselves.
You often find the youth sitting in circle in order to share their pain and discover that they are not alone. They push against the negative stereotypes or labels that seem to be too often depicted in the media.
PBMR youth sit in circle with other youth from other communities and work to stop the violence or better the schools. They work against the “schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline” and offer alternatives to incarceration.
The youth are the very core of life here at the “Center”.
PBMR recognizes that the women, especially the Mothers, in our community face unsurmountable obstacles as they strive each day to offer their children their best.
Therefore we invite them into the PBMR family and offer them a safe place to tell their stories of loneliness, fear and lack of resources. We are present to each and offer one-on-one support, monthly group brunch and circle, job training, and opportunities to further their education while also providing for some of their basic needs. We invite them into our Peace Garden and accompany them as they walk the Peace Labyrinth or sit by the Peace Fountain. We also offer Family Circles to heal hurts and help restore and strengthen family relationships.
“I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25) is a clear mandate from Matthew’s gospel. It is at the core of our ministry – to build relationships/connections with those incarcerated. So often, our relationship begins in the detention center. In that environment, we build a level of trust that enables us to continue that journey when they are released back into the community.
I always say that the “heavy lifting” is the work in the community, but the Detention Center can be where we begin.
25 volunteers go into the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center several times a week. It is a ministry of presence: it is sitting and listening one-to-one or in a drumming circle; it is standing beside them in court; and it is reaching out to their families; it is being there for them when they are released or go on to prison.
Art on 51st
The Arts enable a person who has been impacted by trauma to tell their story. Too often, the pain or hurt of a young person stays buried deep inside…..where it festers. The art program enables us to invite them to share in whatever way they can: drawing or painting, music or poetry, theater or film.
Because it has become so central to how we tell our story – inside the detention center or jail and in the community – we have opened an art gallery. Here the stories are shared, the music is created and the paintings and drawings are displayed. In the back rooms t-shirts are screened and young people sit with their easels and create their own “masterpieces”.
Each month we have a RJ Cafe in which the community and stakeholders can gather and work to build stronger relationships and a stronger community.